Philippine keeps benchmark rate unchanged at 6.50%, as expected

Credit: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Recasts, adds quote, details, background from paragraph 3 onwards

MANILA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady at 6.50% for a third straight meeting on Thursday, as price pressures have further eased.

All 24 economists in a Reuters poll expected the central bank to leave its target reverse repurchase rate PHCBIR=ECI unchanged.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has raised rates by 450 basis points since May 2022, including an off-cycle hike in October.

"Risks to inflation outlook have receded," the BSP said in a statement read at a media briefing.

Annual inflation was at 2.8% in January, the slowest in more than three years, on lower price increases in food, utility and fuel prices.

The central bank has set a 2% to 4% inflation target for 2024.

(Reporting by Mikhail Flores and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty)


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